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Nov 22, 2014
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Nightlife: The Engine Room at Feraro’s
By Matt Berkley | Photos by Jonathan Gayman
Posted On: 11/01/2014   

Much to the dismay of its fans, Feraro’s Jersey Style Pizza in Soulard packed up its Parmesan and East Coast knickknacks earlier this year and skedaddled to a new location on a quaint little corner in the Carondolet/Patch neighborhood. It was a smart play for a popular pizzeria that had long outgrown its meager space. The pizzas are now available for delivery, and as for the new place, it rocks – literally.

The rising sound of a live heavy metal band slamming through its first song feels like an electric shock to the heart of an otherwise subdued commercial strip on Ivory Avenue. It’s Friday at 9 p.m. and The Engine Room has sprung to life. Opened under the auspice of the shiny new Feraro’s next door, The Engine Room is a little corner music venue and saloon that jams late into the night (1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). Though it operates regularly as a bar, the venue hosts live music acts several times a week with Sunday night karaoke thrown into the mix, along with ladies night on Tuesdays, featuring discounted booze.

The fanciest thing behind the bar is a Guinness tap. Don’t expect a drink menu. Tried and true cocktails and rounds of straight shots reign supreme at this music house, including regular specials like $1 Stag, $2 PBR, and $3 shots of Jaeger or Fireball. You can also hole up at a table and order a six-pack of Schlafly, Budweiser or other domestics for around $15. Service at the bar was solid, as was the generosity of the pours.

Rock bands regularly blow the doors off this place, but The Engine Room turns it down a notch on other nights for jazz and blues bands, even the occasional reggae act. Acoustically speaking, it’s a small space. The sound definitely bleeds over to the restaurant proper. There’s no hiding from the tunes, unless you step outside.

The clientele varies with the entertainment. This certainly isn’t a spot with normal barflies. Most of the music is geared toward young, urban-dwelling professionals in their 20s and 30s. On nights with hard rock bands, the place is clotted with scenesters downing PBR longnecks and sporting strategically torn jeans. On karaoke nights, there might be 20-something erstwhile coeds singing their hearts out to country songs. In between, there will be random walk-ins, young couples and neighborhood regulars in the mood for a tall gin and tonic.

Like Feraro’s, The Engine Room is a slick rehab of a grand old storefront in the commercial center of the neighborhood. The near-ground-level stage pretty much smacks you in the face as you walk inside. Past a handful of tables in the dimly lit room is an amply stocked bar illuminated by random neon beer signs and a flickering flat-screen TV. Further back are a pool table and dartboard.

The new Feraro’s, which also serves patrons of The Engine Room, holds its own. The same thick slices of crispy, beautifully charred pizza dough are piled with thick mozzarella and all the usual fixings. The Jersey Style specialty pizza, with crispy bits of smoked ham, onion, tomatoes and fresh slivers of garlic, is probably the best antidote for someone fed up with thin crust and Provel. Food service is not lacking, but be prepared to settle in for a few drinks before seeing anything come out of the kitchen.

Bottom line: It took moving away from home for little Feraro’s to come of age. As a venue and lounge, The Engine Room stands admirably well on its own. But it certainly doesn’t hurt when you have good pizza arriving from the kitchen.

The Engine Room at Feraro’s
7700 Ivory St., St. Louis, 314.256.0500, ferarospizza.com/events

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